With the 2023 NFL draft rapidly approaching, the 49ers currently have three selections near the end of the third round. As it stands, the 49ers will be picking at 99, 101, and 102. While it is not set in stone that the 49ers will make all of these picks without moving up or down the board, there are a number of intriguing prospects who could be available in that range.
I chose three players who are projected to be selected around that range, and shared a bit about each player and why I think they would be a fantastic fit for the 49ers.
Viliami Fehoko Jr. - Edge, San Jose State
A Bay Area native who spent his collegiate years playing right in the 49ers backyard, Fehoko has serious upside as an every down edge at the next level. Fehoko was the Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2022 after an impressive season that saw him record 66 pressures, 9 sacks, and 19 tackles for loss.
Fehoko dominated the competition and was extremely consistent from week to week. The San Jose State standout recorded multiple pressures in every single game of the 2022 season, including six games with at least five pressures.
At 6’4, 276 pounds, Fehoko has the size to play the versatile role the 49ers typically covet with their edge rushers. Fehoko is strong enough to kick inside and work on the interior in sub packages, while also having the explosion to win off the edge.
Fehoko also has a deep bag of moves in his pass rushing arsenal, regularly showing the ability to convert his power to speed and vice versa. His ability to counter is special, but he also won with his initial move with regularity. This rip move against Fresno State resulted in a strip sack that Fehoko himself was able to scoop up for a San Jose State turnover.
That explosion off the edge also translates against the run:
This rep is a great blend of the technical ability and overall burst Fehoko possesses. Explodes off the snap and clears the tight end trying to block him with a swim move to register one of the 19.5 tackles for loss he recorded last season.
Admittedly, Fehoko is one of my favorite prospects in this class. I have a lot more that I’d like to say, but I will elaborate more on an upcoming piece on Fehoko that I’m really excited to put together. Stay tuned for that, coming soon!
Davis Allen - Tight end, Clemson
The 49ers are almost assuredly drafting a tight end in what feels like one of the deeper drafts at the position in recent memory. When checking all the boxes of what the 49ers are looking for to compliment the room they already have, Allen is a tailor made fit.
Allen started 25 games while appearing in 54 during his time at Clemson, becoming just the fourth tight end in program history to record double-digit touchdowns in his career. Listed at 6’6 25, but perhaps the most eye-popping measurement are his 10-inch hands.
He was the ultimate safety blanket for his quarterbacks at Clemson, regularly coming down with contested catches and 50/50 balls like the pair of touchdowns he caught in last season's thrilling win over Wake Forest.
The first came deep in the red zone, with Allen showing off his tremendous ability to go up and high point the ball:
The second was the game winning score, with Allen on the receiving end of a 21 yard touchdown to take a 51-45 lead in overtime. Allen really shows off the body control here, high pointing this ball on his back shoulder and maintaining possession all the way through the ground:
Allen also has the potential to be a dangerous weapon with the ball in his hands, adding to an already potent group of skill position players in San Francisco. This play is a great example of the sneaky athleticism Allen possesses. Just a simple slide route to the flat that ends with Allen hurdling a defender after picking up a nice gain:
While the ball skills and receiving ability that Allen possesses are exciting, no tight end is going to see the field in a Kyle Shanahan offense unless they can block. Allen is not only a capable blocker, perhaps even more valuable is the fact he is a more than willing blocker who does not shy away from the physicality that comes with those assignments.
This first cut up is a great example of the tenacious attitude Allen attacks his blocking assignments with. Watch Allen drive this Wake Forest defender into the turf:
This next example is something that would translate exceptionally well into Shanahan’s offense. The ability to move laterally and finish off a sift block on the end man on the line of scrimmage with some emphasis:
Allen has all the tools to eventually develop into a starting role, with a high enough floor to come in and be a contributor from day one. His size and contested catch ability would be a welcomed addition to a group of skill players who primarily dominate after the catch.
Tyler Steen - Tackle, Alabama
Steen transferred to Alabama prior to the 2022 season after spending the previous four seasons at Vanderbilt. He earned the distinguished responsibility of protecting Bryce Young’s blindside as the starting left tackle, a role he thrived in during his lone season playing for the Crimson Tide.
Steen spent three seasons starting at left tackle during his time in college, as well as a 12 game stretch at right tackle during his sophomore year at Vanderbilt. He even saw action at defensive tackle during his freshman year at Vanderbilt, which could make the 49ers like him even more, given their affinity for building up the defensive line.
The good news comes by way of pass protection, where Steen only allowed two sacks on 498 pass blocking snaps during the 2022 season, proving to be extremely dependable in pass protection for a potent offense that threw the ball a lot.
While the power is evident in pass protection and as a run blocker, Steen showed a tremendous ability to counter against speed while being rushed.
This is a great example, Steen demolishes a smaller defender as they try and win the corner and get around the edge to the quarterback:
Steen also has the ability to win with power in the run game. This rep in Alabama’s thrilling win over Texas is a great example. Steen completely flattens this Texas defender while sealing off the edge for his running back:
Steen has the athleticism and size to play right tackle, but could realistically kick inside to guard as well if that's where the 49ers envision his future. A versatile player with plenty of experience playing against top flight competition, this would be a tremendous value at the end of the third round.